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John Stott – Heretic?

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John Stott believes in annihilation; he denies a real hell and eternal punishment, despite their inclusion in God’s word. A man can make mistakes, and if this was his only error we would have no reason to question his own salvation. But, when a theologian perpetuates an error or several errors, we have to think twice about calling him a brother.

Most would agree that if a theologian does not have a right view of salvation, then we have a right to query not just his salvation, but also his credibility as a teacher. On salvation, John Stott proclaims the teaching known as ‘Lordship Salvation’, which is antithetical to Free Grace. In other words, it is heretical and godless, rejecting true salvation as given in scripture.

‘Lordship Salvation’ is a salvation by works, and so is basically Arminian in concept. This immediately removes it from scripture. John MacArthur teaches Lordship Salvation. Pastor of Candlelight Bible Church, Houston, Texas, says in his critique of MacArthur’s book, ‘The Gospel According to Jesus’: “(He) writes that ‘faith encompasses obedience’ and that obedience is ‘an integral part of saving faith’…. and he quotes with approval Rudolph Bultmann’s dictum, ‘To believe’ is ‘to obey’.”

Yet, Paul says in Romans 3:28: “we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law”. MacArthur (and Stott) errs when he says that obedience is an integral part of saving faith. Obedience is certainly integral to faith after salvation, but it has no part in being saved, because salvation is a free gift of God. Anything at all that we do to procure salvation is, by definition, ‘works’.

Also, obedience cannot be integral to salvation, because of the process of salvation itself. Until and when a person’s spirit is made alive through regeneration, he cannot respond to God, and he certainly never seeks Him. He might seek a version of spirituality, but not salvation as given by God. He can never seek or respond to God, because he is dead in his sins! God says that. Regeneration is needed so that when God speaks to him, the man can start to move forward towards salvation.

This part is often not realised by the person to be saved, and obedience is not part of the equation. Rather, he is made to move forward by God’s mercy and grace, until the point is reached where he hears or reads the Gospel, repents and is saved. This is all an action by God alone, without any other work. The trust given for salvation is not a work but a product of God’s grace. The person will be saved, with or without his trust, because that is the nature of God’s grace and sovereignty.

After his salvation, he begins to act in accordance with God’s will, and it is this that can be called ‘obedience’. Note that it only comes after the person’s spirit is made alive and he is saved by God.

Believers in Lordship Salvation claim the theory is found throughout Church history and in Reformed teachings. This is another error (or lie). For statements by Augustine, Luther and Calvin on this, see ‘John MacArthur’s Heresy on Lordship Salvation’ by Tara Tourangeau ( ).

As I have shown in my book, ‘Tom Got it Wrong’, a critique of the salvation theology of Roman Catholic theologian, Thomas Aquinas, Rome teaches a works-plus-grace salvation that subtly displaces God’s word on the matter. So, by claiming Lordship Salvation, MacArthur and Stott, et al, are merely repeating and proposing the godless false gospel of Rome, one based on works. This is evidenced by what John Stott says about unity, proving his Romanist views on salvation:

“The visible unity of all professing Christians should be our goal… and evangelicals should join others in the Church of England in working towards full communion with the Roman Catholic church.” (1977 National Evangelical Anglican Congress held at Nottingham).

Stott’s view of salvation, then, is corrupt. How can a man whose spirit is dead possibly obey God? He has no connection with God and God rejects him out of hand! The man is incapable of obeying anything of God in a true spirit, because of this deadness. He might appear to obey in sorts by ‘doing’ all kinds of things that amount to works… but it is all in vain because everything done ‘for God’ before salvation is useless and counts for nothing.

Stott has believed in Lordship Salvation since well before his debate with Everett Harrison, in 1959 (Eternity Magazine). There is a great deal more to the Lordship Salvation argument, but this article is only given to show that John Stott teaches it, along with other heresies. We can expect to see heresies held by ignorant Christians, whose pastors do not watch the flock entrusted to them by God; these are people who need nurturing and teaching. But, this is not so for those who claim to be teachers, pastors and preachers. If they hold to heresies and teach them, they are guilty before God and must be cast from fellowship until, and if, they repent.

Stott supports the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, so-called, by saying that love is the chief criterion to judge homosexuals by, because love is chief in the New Testament. He also says that if these people call themselves ‘Christian’ then they are all our brethren! (In ‘Issues Facing Christians Today’, John Stott). So, this is another heresy, and a gross one. Stott even demands removing certain passages from scripture on the hearsay of heretics (such as 1 John 5:7-8).

John Stott has indeed defended Christianity, but this does not detract from his heretical declarations, which must be challenged and condemned. Many, through the ages of the Church, have been expounders of truth, but have mixed it with error. In every case, they have been challenged and, where they refuse to repent, have been condemned as heretics. John Stott is no exception to this rule.

© July 2010

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